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Ontario Health Alliance Launches New Initiative to Track Chronic Disease Risk Factors

Nov 30, 2016

Toronto (November 30, 2016) – More than half of all Ontarians are living with one or more chronic conditions, which are the leading cause of death in the province.  The Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (OCDPA), a coalition of more than 20 health-related organizations, today launches a multi-year initiative to capture, track and compare risk factors for chronic disease in Ontario.

  • 90% of Canadians 65 and over live with at least one chronic disease or condition, including dementia and depression
  • 79% of all deaths in the province are attributable to cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory disease or diabetes
  • 40% of Ontario’s health care costs are related to unhealthy behaviours and socioeconomic barriers, costing $134 billion over 10 years

“Certain indicators can help track our province’s performance towards improving the health of all people in Ontario,” says Dr. Norman Giesbrecht, Chair of the OCDPA Working Group that developed the report. “This framework will let us monitor short-, medium- and long-term changes and identify priority challenges to be addressed.”

This new framework gathers existing data on key risk factors for chronic diseases, assembles it in one easy reference and provides a baseline for future measurement. Focusing on unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use, high risk alcohol use, and mental illness, it can serve as a key planning tool for government, as well as organizations, researchers and individuals involved in preventing  chronic disease.

“Since 2003, the OCDPA has been committed to integrated action on chronic disease prevention,” says Dr. Giesbrecht. “This is the first comprehensive Ontario-specific framework that consolidates and compares chronic disease risk factors across the province, helping us better understand where to prioritize and focus our efforts in prevention measures to keep Ontarians healthy.”

Through extensive consultation with experts, a total of 52 indicators were identified across these five risk factors. The most recent Ontario data have been assembled and organized into a presentation with key policy implications identified. The OCDPA recognized the importance of identifying a list of indicators and associated measures pertaining to the five risk factors with an emphasis on selecting indicators that are indicative of quality, accessibility and relevance to the Ontario context.

The full report, along with easy to share infographics for each of the risk factors can be found at

About the OCDPA
The Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance (OCDPA) is a collaborative of more than 20 leading health-related organizations working together to comprehensively address chronic disease prevention and healthy living. Since its formation in 2003, the OCDPA has provided overviews on the determinants and risk factors for chronic disease development, addressed the economic burden of chronic disease in Canada, and identified the priorities for action in chronic disease prevention.

For More Information:
Norman Giesbrecht
Senior Scientist Emeritus, Institute for Mental Health Policy Research at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Chair of the OCDPA Chronic Disease Prevention Indicators Framework Working Group Phone number 647-444-1865